How To Survive a Breakup During the Holidays
I recently got out of a relationship with a wonderful man who I shared countless adventures with over the past six months. We traveled together, went for hikes and bike rides together, and even spontaneously snuck into pools together late at night. Our relationship filled me with a joy I hadn't experienced in a long time and when it ended rather unexpectedly, I felt as if someone pulled the rug out from under me right before kicking me - very hard - in the chest (and I thought I hated Sundays before this). Mix that ingredient in with one giant cup of the holiday season, and you got yourself one bitter, awful tasting recipe of the winter blues.
If you, too, are going through a breakup this holiday season, you’re not alone. I can empathize with how heartbreaking it can be to come home after a long day of work to an empty apartment with no one to share your thoughts and feelings with. I know how easy it is to silently curse every Instagram photo of someone you know cutting down the perfect Christmas tree or lighting the menorah with their significant other. I know that it really does feel like every single person you know is getting engaged to the love of their life while you just broke up with the person you thought was yours. In short, it sucks. It really, really sucks. But because you are not in this alone, and it is one of my most trusted beliefs that we’re here to walk each other through the darkness, I am going to share with you all some action steps to take to survive a breakup during the holidays. Most of the steps have to do with self-compassion and giving yourself permission to relax and grieve what no longer is.
1. Know when to be alone and when to go out. If you’re anything like me, it’s going to feel easier to slip into your pajamas (i.e. your coziest sweatpants and sweatshirt) and isolate yourself from mankind than it is to plan a night out with your friends. Sometimes we need to honor our desire for alone time. But it’s also easy to get stuck in this place which tends to exasperate the winter blues. Challenge yourself to spend some time with friends and family. I’ve found that even putting on a nice outfit and getting coffee with a good friend has helped a lot. We all need human connection…and coffee.
2. Keep moving that body! When the winter comes, I tend to lose my desire to work out because, well, sitting on my couch with a glass of wine watching Netflix is just so much more appealing when it’s cold outside. However, I’ve found that every time I get myself to a workout class or the gym, half way through the class, my endorphins are off the charts and my inner dialogue has changed from “How many days until summer?” to “I am SO AWESOME. Seriously, who would ever want to break up with me?” Sounds dorky, but hey, those endorphins have me feeling like a badass destined for greatness.
3. Trust the process. While we may have not chosen to be broken up with during the holiday season (because honestly, who would choose that?), it is our reality and we can either resist it or accept it. Resistance leads to anger and unhappiness. Acceptance leads, eventually, to peace. Accept that you are where you are and maybe, just maybe, you’re supposed to be dating yourself right now. When I find myself rejecting my single status, I remind myself that I have so many dreams I want to bring into fruition in my life. What better time to focus on my passions and curiosities than now? I have no one to answer to but me. That’s pretty damn freeing.
4. Take yourself out on a date. Don’t worry – I’m not going to force you to reserve a table for one at your favorite restaurant (unless of course you want to; in which case I say go for it! You’re my new idol.) But we do live in a world that makes us feel like it’s weird to go on dates with ourselves, and I happen to disagree. Two weeks ago I was feeling down about my breakup and I decided to take myself out to see a movie. I went to my favorite theater, ordered popcorn and candy, sat where I wanted to sit, and enjoyed a great film. I even snapped a photo of it, posted it on Instagram, and just so happened to inspire one of my friends to take herself out to a movie, too. You can have a great time with yourself, especially when it involves eating yummy foods ;)
5. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. At the end of the day, you are going to live your whole life with yourself…and hopefully many other wonderful people. But being single is the perfect time to check in on how you’re choosing to show up for yourself. Are you allowing yourself to relax while you read a new book or take a hot bath? Are you feeding yourself nourishing foods (and occasionally some popcorn)? Are you still making time for your favorite holiday traditions? Are you reminding yourself every day of how incredibly worthy of love you truly are? Now is the time, my love. This is when self-love counts the most. Do not forget yourself.
6. If steps 1-5 fail, watch Gilmore Girls. Remember that right now you're operating at 20-30%. It's OK if some days you don't feel like practicing steps 1-5. It's OK if some days, the best you can do is get out of bed, make some coffee, and sit on your couch and watch Gilmore Girls. Lord knows I do this at least once a month. Know when to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and when to relax into it. In my experience, Gilmore Girls helps heal the soul. Find your version of Gilmore Girls.
Going through a break up during the holidays is not easy, that’s for sure. But if we join hands and walk through this season together, I know we can make it. I know because I’m trusting that you and I are exactly where we’re supposed to be – alive, resilient, and in the pleasure of our own company. And, if you have Netflix, the company of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, too.